Watch a Single Male Lion Take on An Entire Hyena Clan

Written by Katie Melynn Wood
Updated: August 30, 2023
© AfricaWildlife/
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Key Points:

  • In this video, you see a large cackle of hyenas ravishing a meal when suddenly a large lion charges into the scene.
  • The lion charges them a few times but realizes he is outnumbered and wanders off.
  • Once the lion exits the scene, the hyenas are quick to return to the kill.

Lions may be the king of the jungle but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their work cut out for them when taking on an entire group of hyenas.

Hyena Birth - hyena pack
A group of hyenas is called a clan, cackle, or pack.

© Schallmeiner

A group of hyenas is called a clan, cackle, or pack. This single lion is called brave for not backing down even when outnumbered. It may be because he is used to being at the top of the food chain. Either way, the young male lion isn’t going to let the hyenas get the last laugh.

This video was captured in the Maasai Mara Nature Reserve in Kenya. It is a protected area that is home to many African species, such as lions and hyenas. Other animals that live in the area include elephants, zebras, cheetahs, and hippos.

In the video, you can hear the hyenas laughing. While it sounds just like laughter, it is a vocalization that only spotted hyenas use. They make this sound when they feel threatened or anxious, rather than to express their fun spirit. The lion stalks among them, clearly intent on staking out his claim.

Hyenas and lions are both carnivores and will fight over the same kills. Hyenas are known for stealing other animals’ kills, which is probably why the lion is so on edge. With so many hyenas around, he knows that one is bound to try to take his dinner away.

When the lion walks away from the prey, the hyenas are quick to come in. Most of them rush to the carcass and begin to eat. It is hard to tell exactly what it is or who caught it, but the hyenas are certainly making a nice meal of the prey.

The Lion Stakes His Claim

Male lion lying on a muddy river bank looking alert in Ndutu in Tanzania
The video text mentions that the lion is young and probably can’t scare off many hyenas at once.

©Stu Porter/

This only goes on for a few seconds before the lion rushes back. He chases a few of the hyenas away and seems to be happy with exerting his dominance over the clan. The hyenas run away but every time the lion turns his back, one or two sneak back toward the kill to try to get a bite. The lion ends up standing guard over his food as the hyenas continue their noise all around him.

The video text notes that the lion is young and likely can’t scare off so many hyenas at once. He stays close to the kill but doesn’t act aggressively. His posture is one of defense rather than going after the hyenas. Would an older and bolder lion have been quicker to get aggressive? Maybe. But given that the female lions are the ones who primarily do the hunting, it’s also possible that any male lion would have focused on protecting his prey rather than trying to get a hyena.

The lion lunges at the hyenas a few more times but eventually decides that the whole endeavor is just too much work for him. He hasn’t gotten to eat anything because he has had to focus on keeping the hyena clan at bay. The lion walks away and the hyenas quickly swarm in for a tasty meal.

Is It Normal For Lions to Steal Kills?

Roaring male lion
Male lions are often seen as lazy hunters and may steal prey from other animals.


Even though female lions are the main hunters in pride, male lions are able to hunt too. Lions in general are not only amazing hunters but also scavengers and will stalk and steal prey from other predators. Female lions are famous for hunting in packs while male lions are typically seen as lazy hunters such as stealing or scavenging.

This often means that when other carnivores have caught and killed another animal, lions will bully them into giving up their meal. This usually doesn’t work with hyenas however, it doesn’t stop lions from trying!

Check out this Awesome Video Below!

The Featured Image

Male lion with two hyenas
Some male lions will take on a pack of hyenas.
© AfricaWildlife/

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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